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How soon do you need to buy to avoid shortages?

This supply chain shortage is no joke. Hundreds of ships are stuck offshore, filled with items that stores can't get on shelves.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The supply chain disruption is having a major impact on stores with many large retailers scrambling to hire their own ships and truck drivers to get goods to stores on time. 

Hundreds of ships are sitting, unable to dock and unload due to the labor shortage. And there's no way to sugarcoat it. It's not good and it won't get better overnight. 

When the pandemic shut everything down, no one foresaw a disruption in the supply chain to this extent. For quite some time, this will be another "new normal." 

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"Obviously, the pandemic affects things in a big way," said Chandra Steele, a senior features writer with PCMag. "There have been factories that have been shut down for months."

Steele said it's a global issue that isn't the fault of any one country or economy, and it's affecting everyone. 

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

COVID-19 cases are surging in other parts of the world, there aren't enough vaccines for those countries and then there's a shortage of workers. So how does this affect your trip to Target or Walmart? 

For starters, rethink your holiday shopping lists. From Halloween all the way to Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, now is the time to start buying. Otherwise, you may not find what you're looking for. It's already been a problem for Halloween lovers, as stores are running low on decorations with restocks looking unlikely at many chains. 

"I would definitely buy now," Steele said. 

Almost everything you buy will be affected in some way but electronics will take the biggest hit. This is due to the semi-conductor shortage that's made some video game consoles all but impossible to find for nearly a year. Sony PlayStations, Microsoft Xbox, anything with a chip will be harder to find. 

And the forecast isn't much better for after the holidays. It's possible supply chain issues persist well into the 2022 holiday shopping season. 

Shipping delays on the consumer end are also going to impact the holidays. The U.S. Postal Service announced its recommended guidelines to mail greeting cards and packages for expected delivery by Christmas Day. 

USPS 2021 holiday shipping deadlines

  • Dec. 17 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 17 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 18 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service

FedEx also recently announced its Christmas deadlines, with options to ship packages up until Christmas Eve for delivery by Dec. 25.  

Contact Bill McGinty at bmcginty@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook.

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